CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- IMG College's inability to sign up any of Morgantown businessman John Raese's stable of 29 radio stations in West Virginia could leave parts of the state without game-day radio coverage of WVU football contests this fall.
However, an IMG spokesman said the media firm is working quickly to sign up affiliates across the state -- and still holds out hope that at least some of Raese's stations might join the new Mountaineer Sports Network.
WVU's first football game is Aug. 31, against William & Mary.
"There are an abundance of radio outlets across the state with big signals, a listener base passionate for Mountaineer football, and a strong desire to carry WVU sports," said Andrew Giangola, an IMG spokesman.
In July, WVU struck an $80 million sports media rights deal with Winston Salem, N.C.-based IMG College, the same company selected earlier in the year before an Attorney General's Office review of bid-rigging allegations prompted university officials to solicit contract proposals a second time.
Raese's company, West Virginia Radio, which has handled WVU football and basketball broadcasts for decades, filed suit against WVU to block the deal. Raese's lawyers allege that WVU's selection of IMG was a "sham" that benefited university "insiders," including former Board of Governors chairman Drew Payne and board member Dave Alvarez.
Since July, IMG and WVU have signed up more than 20 radio stations across the state -- but no stations owned and operated by Raese.
Without Raese's stations, radio listeners in Elkins, Buckhannon and Weston, and the Potomac Highlands region might have a difficult time finding radio coverage of WVU football and basketball games.
Giangola said IMG has "reached out to West Virginia Radio . . . in an effort to partner with their stations.
"The door remains open," he said.